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9th August 2017
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...
From fidget spinners to Call of Duty - our consumer obsession is stifling children's creativity
Peter Tait, former Head at Sherborne Preparatory School argues that there are many apps, quirks and toys preventing children from thinking outside of the box.
“It is no surprise that children complain "I’m bored" when standing in the middle of a room full of toys. Too much of anything is boring. Just stop giving them things.
What happens when children have to spend time together and don’t have any toys at hand? They improvise. They imagine. They make up worlds. They race sticks down a stream, fly a home made kite, play with old boxes, make up imaginary worlds. Of course, it seems easier just to buy them that toy they have been clamouring for to gain some peace and quiet. But the long term consequences of appeasement are more friction, more demands, more booty, possibly long-term fall-out.
It’s happened before. Be warned!”
The big lesson from the world's best school system? Trust your teachers
Finnish education policies are highly praised, but the real success is the level of responsibility and autonomy given to teachers to do their jobs
Finnish education is rarely out of the news, whether it’s outstanding Pisa results, those same results slipping, the dropping of traditional subjects, not dropping subjects, or what makes Finnish teachers special.
In Finland much is made of the stringent selection of candidate teachers and the world-class training successful applicants receive – and rightly so. But while getting into the profession is highly competitive, the conditions teachers work under and the ethos of the schools, also have a huge bearing on allowing teachers and their students to flourish. And this is all down to trust.
Teachers in Finland are given a great deal of responsibility and are allowed unfettered flexibility in what and how they teach. Performance isn’t observed and graded. Instead, annual development discussions with school leaders provide feedback on a teacher’s own assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Detailed plans are not expected either. The notion that a teacher should provide evidence to prove what they’ve done is ludicrous. Each teacher marks work when it benefits them or the student, but not for anyone else’s sake.
What society in Finland does – perhaps better than anywhere else – is look after, value and trust each other. If visitors, legislators and commentators could take one lesson away from the Finnish education system, it should be that one.
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